Found on the Greenway: Summer Walk Around Lake Crandall
by Chris Bolling
I took a walk along Prairie Loop and Trekker Loop around Lake Crandall recently. The evidence of a full summer was all around.
In several places along the walk the blackberries (Rubus sp.) were obvious to see. Along the edges of fields and amongst hedges along roadside, and where there is full sun and not constant mowing, blackberry plants are liable to show up. This time of year the fruit is ripening. The fruit is not only enjoyed by people but by birds, mammals and even box turtles.
Another plant that shows up in un-mowed fields in the full sun is Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra). This plant can form dense thickets of plants from rhizomes along the ground. In the summer the fruit forms in clusters along the tip of stems. In the winter birds will feeds on this fruit and spread the indigestible seeds.
A plant that is very conspicuous this time of year is the Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans). The conspicuous flowers can be seen along roadside, in hedges along fields and in the tops of trees. The flowers are a favorite of hummingbirds and if you find a large group of flowers in a clearing, it is usually not long before a hummingbird comes along to get some nectar from the plants.
Along Lake Crandall was another flowering plant in full bloom, the Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis). This plant grows along waterways and is also visited by hummingbirds along with many insect pollinators. It favors sunny spots and when it can establish itself in the full sun, it produces many spectacular flowers.
The heat may be daunting at this time of year, but the rewards of getting out in the woods and fields on the greenway are countless.